Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton
Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton speaks at the opening of the Counter Terrorism Conference at being held during the one-off summit of 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Sydney, Australia, March 17, 2018. Rick Rycroft/Pool via Reuters

Five dual-nationals have been stripped off of their Australian citizenship due to their involvement with the Islamic State. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said they were involved in “serious terrorist-related activity” and have been acting against the country’s interests.

Dutton cited second 35 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2015, which states that a dual national’s Australian citizenship ceases if they act contrary to their allegiance to Australia by engaging in terrorism-related conduct. This conduct includes fighting for a declared terrorist organisation overseas, which the Islamic State is.

The minister did not give specifics on who the five people are, though the Daily Telegraph reports that they were three men and two women who flew to Iraq and Syria to join IS.

“Cessation of Australian citizenship for dual nationals involved in terrorism is a key part of Australia’s response to international violent extremism and terrorism,” Dutton said. “The Government is determined to deal with foreign terrorist fighters as far from our shores as possible to ensure that if they do return, it is with forewarning and into the hands of authorities.

“Our first priority is, and will always be, the safety and security of all Australians.”

The stripping of the Australian citizenship of the five unnamed dual nationals started last year, but it took a long time to gather evidence against them. There could be more people stripped of their Australian citizenship as well, but the minister said it would not be “large numbers” of people.

There has only been one person stripped off his Australian citizenship before. Khaled Sharrouf became the first Australian to have his citizenship stripped in 2017. He was also a citizen of Lebanon. He gained worldwide notoriety after posting a photo of his 7-year-old son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier in 2014.

The IS terrorist was said to have been killed in 2015 by a drone strike but his death was not confirmed. Again in 2017, he was reported to have been killed by an airstrike.